Starting a Restaurant in Qatar

Starting a Restaurant in Qatar

Qatar is without doubt one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East, but the restaurant sector in particular has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, specifically in the capital, Doha.

Underpinned by the worldwide ‘foodie’ movement, it’s easy to see why Qatar is an exciting place for hopeful restauranteurs:

  • A thriving and diverse array of customers from every continent of the world: Asia, Europe, The Americas, Australasia and the Middle East.
  • Fast-growing tourism sector.
  • Strong government commitment to growing the economy and GDP.

Before you officially launch a restaurant in Qatar and claim your slice of the excitement, there are 3 all-important steps to take:

1. Establish your Company and obtain a Trade Licence.

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce have no particular restrictions on companies opening to form restaurants, cafeterias or food outlets of any sort, the primary controls come from the local Municipality, when you apply for a Trade Licence.

It is important therefore, to select carefully the premises that you intend to use and ensure that it complies with the following;

  • The location of the restaurant should be suitable for practicing the activity, conforms to the laws of public health, in terms of hygiene, appearance and construction.
  • The interior of the building must be fully tiled, including bathrooms, kitchens and dining areas, where necessary.
  • Compatible with the laws of Civil Defence in terms of fire protection, security and safety system, the interior walls of the building must be fully tiled, including bathrooms, kitchens and dining areas.
  • Kitchen should be in conformity with the laws and standards of public health and municipality
  • Provide hand wash basins and toilets, and must be in accordance with hygiene and public health conditions, and must provide hot and cold water.
  • The workers in the restaurant must be fit and hygienic.
  • Provide refrigerators and food storage to store and save the food in accordance with public health conditions.

A business set up specialist with fully compliant administrative support and PRO Services such as Venture Partner Qatar, will be able to guide you through the licensing processing and assist with compliance, as well as providing secure local partner services.

2. Select the best location for your restaurant

Location is everything when starting a business in Qatar. Even the best restaurant or cafeteria can suffer, due to a poor or uninformed choice of business location. So in Qatar, not only is it important to find the right building, it’s also essential to find the building in the right location.

Consequently, many restaurants opening in Qatar opt to place themselves in one of the many malls opening as this provides a ready source of customers and ample parking. Parking is often an issue in Qatar and the lack of parking could severely affect a restaurant’s chances of success.

Areas frequented by tourists staying in the 5* hotels, can accommodate more luxurious and exotic restaurants.

For example, say you’re looking for “The best place to start a vegetarian restaurant in Qatar”. When making this pivotal decision, you want to ensure the location is not only where your target customers are, but also where your competitors haven’t already saturated the area. Facing this endeavour, it’s incredibly helpful to have assistance from local contacts who can not only share good locations for your restaurant or cafeteria business, but also share which areas in Qatar are under development or ‘up and coming’ and would be worth looking in to.

3. Create your Business Plan

A professional business plan should cover 4 areas:

  • Set clear goals for your restaurant or cafeteria.
  • Ensure every dollar of your capital spend is used wisely to maximising your restaurant business profits.
  • Have a contingency plan to deal with the inevitability of the unforeseen.
  • Protect your business and brand as you advance in the market.

Starting a Limited Liability Company

The only way to set up a restaurant in the Qatar is as an on-shore Limited Liability Company (LLC)

As with many countries in the GCC region, commercial law in the Qatar states that a foreign investor cannot own more than 49% of an LLC, and must partner with one or more Qataris (individual or company), who will therefore own a minimum of 51% of the shares.

One option to eliminate the need to search for the ideal local partner altogether is to establish an LLC with a professional corporate local partnership specialist, such as Venture Partner Qatar. They will ensure that agreements are in place that enable the foreign investor to fully control and manage the business, as well as retain the intellectual property and assets. Venture Partner Qatar also ensure that a penalty free exit/company sale strategy is in place for the foreign investor, should it be required.

Venture Partner Qatar and PRO Partner Group are proud of the award-winning service they offer clients in the formation and support of Qatar and UAE companies.

For further information on how to set up a Restaurant in Qatar and wider Gulf, call a member of the team on:
+974 4478 8765 | info@vpqatar.com.